Spending any amount of time in front of a television or computer screen on Groundhog Day likely resulted in you seeing the new Jeep Gladiator spot starring Bill Murray. As with most of the advertising done in the name of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, it was memorable and effective. Both Murray and the truck came across well, encouraging many to re-watch the fantastical 1993 comedy the ad is reliant upon while possibly browsing the Jeep website beforehand. Loaded with easter eggs from the film, it was probably the best automotive ad featured during Super Bowl LIV in a year loaded with healthy competition.
However, your author noticed something odd while watching. At one point, Bill taps Punxsutawney Phil atop his adorable little helmet as they prepare to journey through the snow on what appeared to be a Jeep-branded bicycle. The scene is so brief that it required a repeat viewing to be sure. Is Jeep seriously trying to get into the bicycle game?
Last November, the world learned that both General Motors and Ford planned to enter the field of two-wheeled transportation as part of their new identity as “mobility” companies. Ford chose to purchase electric scooter startup Spin, whereas GM wanted to mass produce two e-bikes intended for direct sale. However, not much was known about the actual product, where they would be made available, or what the company intended to call them.
That changed Thursday, when GM announced its electric bicycles will carry the brand name “Ariv” (styled as ARĪV by the company) and commence sales within Europe in the second quarter of 2019. Customers have a choice between a compact e-bike and an even smaller, foldable one for a little more money.
Considering how much the authors on this website like to rag on rental scooters (which are an unholy menace), we’re glad to see General Motors take this route. Love or hate them, bicycles are better solutions for urban transport than standing scooters, and encouraging people to own them means fewer e-vehicles littering the sidewalk.